Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Flying bugs, crafty canines and bucket airlines…..

Leaving the back door open recently on a balmy night, I discovered that my living room ceiling was covered in hundreds of tiny green midges. I couldn't even see the chandelier. (What do you mean – chandelier? Just because I don't live in a stately home doesn't mean I can't have the trappings that go with it! Although the servants don’t stay very long I must say!)

I'm quite proud of my chandelier – I fixed it myself in 1994, and it still hangs proud today. I'm very grateful for energy-saver candle bulbs because it takes ten of them, and the regular ones were a substantial drain on the electricity.  I tried real candles once, but the wax overflowed and blew the circuit.

In fact, whenever I went overseas I used to remove the bulbs, because my children had a tendency to forget where the off-switch was.

It doesn't bother me anymore – I paid two quid for each of these new eco-bulbs and they're designed to last fifteen years (so less than a third through their lifespan they’re still going strong with no great shakes on the electric bill.)

Purists would argue that I should spend more time on teaching the blighters the importance of energy conservation, but believe me, I’d have more success teaching the dog to answer the phone and forward my messages (that's her below – Elsa the Jack Russell)043

I once tried to teach the pooch to be more friendly to the postmen, but unfortunately it had the opposite effect.

She doesn’t understand Polish or Romanian, and mistook their cries for “kindly let go of my trousers dear mutt” as “good dog, please bite my arse as well!”

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes – green flying insects – some looked like mosquitoes! Maybe they were!

So this got me thinking. I'm so used to sharing my home in the Philippines with all manner of bugs and creepy crawlies that I was quite taken aback by this sudden phenomenon.

Is it climate change? Maybe they've all flown in courtesy of RyanAir. Speaking of which, I've been fixing up an in-law on an Easyjet flight from Venice to Gatwick as a special treat.

I've always said I would rather have my thumbs screwed to the armrest of an Aeroflot plane than fly on one of these cheap short-haul bucket airlines, but needs must as the devil drives – and besides, I'm not flying on this occasion.

Anyway by booking online I saved 30 euros than if I'd called them directly, as well as the extra cost of the premium rate phone call. But if you make a mistake with the details then you either call them directly to amend them and be charged another 45 euros, or you change it online, which will cost 30 euros. This is amazing, because you'll save 15 euros for rectifying the mistake by not talking to anyone!

Whatever you do, don't make any errors! It's through mistakes, incidentals and extras where they pile on the cash. Carrying check-in luggage? That's an extra 22 euros per person. Insurance? An extra bag? food? All extra! After that they'll try and flog you a hotel and car rental. Be vigilant and stare them out!

By the time I'd paid up with all the add-ons I should have gone with Italy's national carrier Alitalia direct to Heathrow! Which would have been much more convenient.

I did a similar trip to Rome once on RyanAir in 2006, and that's when I vowed I would never fly short-haul again. That time it was from Stanstead – fifty miles away and the destination airport was equally as far from Rome.

It was my birthday and my wife and I went for a romantic break. The romance took a hit the moment we stepped on board the excuse for an aircraft, and didn't rekindle until we finally got to our hotel near the Colosseum. It's the train for us next time with a private compartment. It would work out the same and be much more fun.

Now back to those bugs. Where was I again…?

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June 29, 2009 - Posted by | The Philippines, United Kingdom

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